New Alzheimer’s Therapy Approved in China, Delivering a Surprise but Raising Questions - Scientific American
Chinese regulators have granted conditional approval to an Alzheimer’s drug that is derived from seaweed, potentially shaking up the field after years of clinical failures involving experimental therapies from major drug companies.
The announcement over the weekend has been met with caution as well as an eagerness from clinicians and others to see full data from the drug maker, Shanghai Green Valley Pharmaceuticals. The company said its drug, #Oligomannate, improved cognitive function in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s compared to placebo in a Phase 3 trial, with benefits seen in patients as early as week four and persisting throughout the 36 weeks of the trial.
Instead of being designed to sweep away protein buildups in the brain, as has been the case with dozens of other experimental Alzheimer’s treatments, Oligomannate was developed to modulate the connection between the brain and the bacterial communities in the gut known as the #microbiome.
The connection between the microbiome and overall health is the subject of a relatively new and evolving field of research, with some scientists seeking to understand how bacteria can influence the emergence of disease, including Alzheimer’s.